How the Eurovision Song Contest brings the world closer together

This year 39 countries have their eyes set on the Eurovision Song Contest title. But there’s something maybe even more important than winning. The Song Contest is also the perfect time to celebrate our international cooperation. To explain why this is so important, let’s dive into the history of the Song Contest.

Eurovisie Songfestival 2021 - podium in Rotterdam
Image: ©NPO/NOS/AVROTROS / Nathan Reinds

Origins of the Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest first aired in 1956, just over a decade after the end of the Second World War. The international competition was devised as a way to celebrate peace and cooperation between countries. Only seven countries took part in the first edition: Switzerland, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany. But the numbers swelled rapidly in the years that followed.

Jeangu Macrooy tijdens de repetities
Image: ©EBU / Thomas Hanses
Jeangu Macrooy performs 'Birth Of A New Age'

Stage of the world

The Song Contest often shows us how our world is changing and which themes are important worldwide. Take, for example, the performance by LGBTI champion Conchita Wurst; a great statement for human rights. Jeangu Macrooy’s ‘Birth Of A New Age’, this year’s Dutch entry, also has a cultural-historical slant. The song, sung in a once banned Surinamese language, is about breaking free from oppression.

Connecting the world and Europe

Once again, music will be sounding throughout Europe. The Eurovision Song Festival is all about connecting people. In this international television extravaganza, countries put aside – and even embrace – their differences. And if we look at the world today, we can see just how important that togetherness is. 

Take, for example, our cooperation in the European Union, which brings every member state much more than prosperity alone. The EU is committed to issues such as human rights and freedom, which are also reflected in the Song Contest. The Union also works to ensure security and stability for all member states. And that is important to us all, because every country’s security and prosperity is directly linked to the peace and stability in surrounding countries.

The Song Contest in and for the Netherlands

The contest is an excellent opportunity for the host country to put itself on the map internationally. And this year it is the Netherlands’ turn to do so. For the first time in the contest’s history, the Netherlands is presenting a fully online Eurovision Village, complete with a virtual Rotterdam and performances by national and international artists. The Netherlands is bringing the world together digitally and bringing the music to you.

The Song Contest is a symbol of a multitude of countries working in harmony. A harmony that the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs commits itself to each and every day, as we can only face the challenges of the future by working together, in Europe, and the rest of the world.

Do you want to know more about the history of the Eurovision Song Contest and this year’s edition in the Netherlands? Read the article on NL Platform.